Data

Number of significant earthquakes

NOAA/NCEI
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What you should know about this indicator

A significant earthquake must meet at least one of the following criteria: caused deaths, caused moderate damage (approximately $1 million or more), had magnitude 7.5 or greater, had a Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) X or greater, or generated a tsunami.

Source
National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (2024) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 9, 2024
Date range
2150 BCE – 2023 CE
Unit
events

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The Significant Earthquake Database is a global listing of over 5,700 earthquakes from 2150 BC to the present. A significant earthquake is classified as one that meets at least one of the following criteria: caused deaths, caused moderate damage (approximately $1 million or more), magnitude 7.5 or greater, Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) X or greater, or the earthquake generated a tsunami. The database provides information on the date and time of occurrence, latitude and longitude, focal depth, magnitude, maximum MMI intensity, and socio-economic data such as the total number of casualties, injuries, houses destroyed, and houses damaged, and $ dollar damage estimates. References, political geography, and additional comments are also provided for each earthquake. If the earthquake was associated with a tsunami or volcanic eruption, it is flagged and linked to the related tsunami event or significant volcanic eruption.

Retrieved on
May 9, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS): NCEI/WDS Global Significant Earthquake Database. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K
The data can be accessed via the NCEI/WDS Global Significant Earthquake Database or via the Natural Hazards API.

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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Number of significant earthquakes”, part of the following publication: Hannah Ritchie and Pablo Rosado (2022) - “Natural Disasters”. Data adapted from National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/significant-earthquakes [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (2024) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (2024) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Number of significant earthquakes – NOAA/NCEI” [dataset]. National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service, “Global Significant Earthquake Database” [original data]. Retrieved June 18, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/significant-earthquakes